It’s not every day that a brand like BMW resurrects an iconic nameplate like the 8 Series.
It goes without saying that such an important launch had to be done in style. Well, BMW’s debut commercial for the all-new 2019 8 Series Coupe has all the right ingredients for success.
The automaker had its sports car drive through the historical center of Venice, something no one has done before. Yes, the 8 Series drove along the Canal Grande and under the Rialto bridge, a route never before covered by an automobile.
To do that, the 8 Series didn’t develop amphibious capabilities. Instead, BMW built pontoons along Venice’s waterways, allowing the 8 Series Coupe to drive in a city dominated by boats. Remarkably, local authorities allowed the building of a pontoon structure for the first time in the city’s history.
The TV commercial is about a young Venetian boy that loves BMWs but is frustrated by the fact that he lives in a city without cars. Years later, he returns to Venice as a young man and fulfills his dream of driving the 8 Series Coupe on the historic city’s waterways. According to BMW, the ad is about making “the apparently impossible come true and turn long-nurtured dreams into reality.”
Undoubtedly, the commercial offers a spectacular visual experience that will stick in the viewers’ memory for a long time. However, the timing for the ad’s release could be better.
You see, these days Venice is seeing some of the worst floods in recent history as deadly storms sweep across northern Italy. As much as 75 percent of the city is now submerged. Rising floodwaters claimed many of Venice’s famous squares and walkways. In the central St Mark’s Square, for instance, the water level reached 1,560 mm (5.1 ft), the fourth highest level ever recorded.
In this context, releasing a commercial that shows the BMW 8 Series Coupe driving on the city’s canals with a cheerful tune in the background might appear insensitive to some.